ZTE KIS – Smartphone on a Budget



You don't have to spend hundreds of pounds to buy a smartphone, BUT if you don't, does that mean you are buying a heap of pointless plastic?   

I have been taking the ZTE KIS out for a test drive to find out exactly that!  

I have been through a few smartphones, and currently I am normally attached to a HTC Desire HD or a Samsung Galaxy Ace, both pretty decent Android run smart phones.  So using those as my standard – how would the ZTE KIS which currently retails for about £49.99 shape up?

The answer – not bad at all! 

The KIS feels lightweight (120g) and yes, a little plasticky but it  also feels sturdy and well made, and I rather like the small lip at the bottom where the mic is.  The on – off button is on the top, volume rocker on the side and there are four touch sensitive buttons below the screen: Menu, Home, Back and Search which all work very well but I could see the lack of back lighting on these causing problems using the KIS in the dark (although mystically these seem backlit at sometimes but not others!).

The ZTE KIS is most definitely aimed at those putting a first toe in the smart phone water, and to this end, its Android Gingerbread (2.3.6) isn't upgradable, and ZTE haven't done much customisation to complicate things, all in all the OS works fairly slickly, there are initially seven screens, and the Apps drawer is rather smart meaning you know where you are at all times and can easily locate the apps you use the most.   The KIS is very easy to use and navigate.   Making a call is as easy as on any smart phone.  Texting a standard affair.  The touchpal keyboard on the KIS I found actually easier to get used to than I had done my HTC or Samsung offerings, and is most definitely one of the better things about this phone.  Again the first time smart phone user struggling with a touch screen keyboard should find this keyboard pretty easy to get used to.   Because ZTE have kept their customisation of the Android system to a minimum (mainly being cosmetic), anyone who has used a Android smart phone should find the phone easy to use out of the box, and I admit I haven't actually opened the quick start guide supplied!

Out of the box the KIS comes pretty well kitted out – 

  • Phone (well duh!);
  • Charger;
  • USB Cable;
  • Headphones; and 
  • a less than meaty, but certainly acceptable 2GB microSD card.

The phone comes with a 3.2MP rear camera which is a good, but not great. 

The best bit about the KIS for the money is the 3.5 inch HVGA TFT 320×480 resolution screen, its very responsive and definitely bright enough to use outdoors, its good enough to watch YouTube videos, play games, email and text.  The viewing angle does let is down, but bearing in mind the cost of the phone its not surprising.   

Being Android you of course have access to Google Play, and apps download and install pretty easily on the KIS, I within a short time had the phone kitted out with everything I consider to be essential! 

Whilst you do get what you pay for, I think the ZTE KIS offers great value for money, it a usable, well designed smart phone which delivers all you need, making it a great choice for those looking to get on the smartphone wagon, or simply if you are budget conscious, looking for a durable phone which "does exactly what it says on the tin".

I was surprised and pleased with the ZTE KIS. 

Technical Specs 

  • Colour:                    Black or White
  • Dimensions:             114.3mm x 61.6mm x 11.5mm
  • Weight:                   120 grams
  • Display:                   TFT WVGA 3.5" (480×320)
  • Camera:                   3.2MP, 2x Digital Zoom
  • Video Capture:         640×480, 15 FPS
  • Operating System:    Android 2.3
  • Processor:               MSM 7225A-0  800M
  • Phone Memory:        512MB Flash+256MB RAM expandable
  • External Memory:     Micro SD 32G
  • Battery:                   1400 mAh, 250 Hours Standby, 240 Hours Talktime
  • Connectivity:           WAP 2.0, 3G, GPS, USB, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3.5mm Jack
  • Band:                      GSM:900/1800/1900 UMTS:900/2100
  • Messaging:              SMS, MMS, Email (Account Support -POP3, IMAP, SMTP), Predictive Text
  • Music:                     MP3, FM Radio, 32 Ringtones
  • Design:                   Touch Bar, Virtual QWERTY, Black
  • Other Features:        Silent Vibrate, Clock/Alarm, Calendar, Calculator, Loudspeaker, Voice dialling, Built-In Modem, Picture Phone Book.




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